The market for free-agent
Loney, 29, hit .299/.348/.430 with 13 home runs and 75 RBI in 549 at-bats with the Rays last season.
The Yankees, who have a surplus of potenital starters in the outfield after signing Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, are said not to like Reds reliever Sean Marshall in a potential Gardner deal. Gardner, who is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2014 season, hit .273/.344/.416 with eight home runs, 52 RBI and 24 stolen bases in 539 at-bats last season.
"J.J. has had a couple really good years for the team," executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said Wednesday, "and I think the interest is mutual between he and the Orioles and extending that relationship."
Hardy will be in the final year of a three-year, $22.5-million deal next season if an extension is not worked out during this offseason. He hit .263/.306/.433 with 25 home runs and 76 RBI in 601 at-bats last season, his third straight year with at least 22 home runs.
The Mets just signed Bartolo Colon to a two-year deal Wednesday, which may take them out of the running for Santana's services. The Diamondbacks have also been linked to another marquee free-agent pitcher, Matt Garza.
There's a general sense among the teams interested in free-agent outfielder
Choo had been looking for a deal in the range of the seven-year, $153-million pact Jacoby Ellsbury signed with the Yankees, but it's unclear if the seven-year deal that is on the table includes that amount of money.
Despite acquiring two players with experience at first base Wednesday,
If Smoak sticks as the first baseman, new acquisitions Corey Hart and Logan Morrison would be ticketed for roles in the outfield. Smoak hit .238/.334/.412 with 20 home runs and 50 RBI in 454 at-bats last season.
If signed, Axford would fill the hole left by departed closer Chris Perez. Axford saved 105 games for the Brewers from 2010 to 2012.
The offer for Cruz is believed to be in the range of the four-year, $60-million contract Curtis Granderson signed with the Mets. Balfour, who is the team's No. 1 option to replaced the traded Jim Johnson at closer, could receive a two-year or three-year deal.
The team is also in on an unnamed starting pitcher.